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More than the wine we love to consume, more than the happy hour specials we enjoy with friends, more than the late night whiskey, bourbon, and other various mixed drinks our Instagram feed seems to suggest we are always partaking in lately (really, we don't drink as much as it seems we do...), Wendy and I consume a lot more water than any other beverage. A declaration like this would make the eight year old version of me cringe in despair, but it's the absolute truth. (Don't worry eight year old Alex, though you won't eat meat and will work to limit sweets so a middle aged gut doesn't suddenly sneak up on you, you can eat raw cookie dough pretty often and even have pancakes for dinner somewhat frequently, it's not all bad.) Personally, I don't really drink much other than water on a regular basis. I've not had a single soda for several years now, and we tend to stay away from sugary fruit drinks. For us, our large Brita pitcher and filter has been a mainstay in our home's fridge from day one.

As reliant as we've become on our filtered water, it hasn't been without its issues. We've had to purchase three different pitcher-based filters over the years due to leaks, it is slower than I'd prefer in filtering the water, and the pitcher is often left with too little water for the next person who wants to fill their glass. I'm going to go ahead and blame Lulu and Mel for this last item, I'd obviously not be quite so inconsiderate.

Last year, while we were spending a few months giving our kitchen a nice little facelift, we reached a point where we had to assess what needed to stay and what needed to go as we moved into our new but much smaller refrigerator. We looked at our filter pitcher and after much debate said "it takes up a lot of space and we'd love to get something else, but we need it, so it's staying for now."

As we quickly tired of the space hog pitcher in the refrigerator door, we came up with a decent idea. Our kitchen sink has a non functioning side sprayer next to the faucet that could possibly be replaced with something to solve our filtered water dilemma.

The side sprayer has been broken for at least six years. We're talking 100% non functional here. From our experience, it seems side sprayers (or at least the ones like the one we own) have a problem working correctly when they get wheat bread clogged in them when someone happens to do a plumbing project and runs out of white bread to put in the pipes (stupid mistake I won't make again). Yes, that's right, I shoved wheat bread into our plumbing and then proceeded to use the sprayer before flushing the bread. The end result is some fiber heavy bread in the supply line and a sprayer that won't spray. Crazy, I know. You know what else I know? I know that removing the handle lever from the back of the sprayer does nothing to fix it. In fact, it sort of breaks it a little more. I'm a font of useful knowledge I tell you.

The point of this story is simple. Rather than replace the side sprayer for our sink faucet with a non broken one, we figured we could replace it with something functional that we'll use on a more regular basis, and something that will allow us to use the kitchen more efficiently. Why not replace the broken and bread clogged sprayer with an inline water filtration kit?

I began researching the various kit options back in October, but I wasn't seeing anything we particularly liked. As our initial interest began to wane and other projects took precedence (like the Christmas home tour) I put it off until a later date. We hadn't mentioned my intentions here on the blog, twitter, or anywhere else when out of the blue we received an email from someone working with 3M/Filtrete and they were interested in sending us a self install water filtration system they'd like us to try. It was like the stars had aligned.

The system they were interested in having us try is the "Filtrete High Performance Drinking Water System with Maximum Filtration Plus." The info they sent along was pretty simple.

  • Entire system only costs $100
  • Has a space saving design that mounts under your kitchen sink
  • A dedicated faucet easily mounts onto your countertop next to the kitchen faucet
  • Reduces contaminants from water including select VOCs, select pharmaceuticals, microbial cysts and lead 
  • Filters last up to six months, and changes are quick and easy with no tools required
Our interest was piqued, so we gave it some thought.

If you're a regular around here, you may have noticed that we're not big on freebies. We don't do sponsored posts or created content, the giveaways we conduct are usually for gift certificates or tickets rather than products, and we're definitely not going to lead you astray and tell you how great a product is if we don't actually believe in it. One thing you don't know is that we've actually been approached by tool brands we don't prefer and we've respectfully decline their offer, as it just isn't us. All that being said, when we were offered this water filtration kit to try out, given that we were looking for something similar already, and there was no obligation to even mention it here or anywhere else, we figured we'd go for it. Ugh, it sounds like I'm justifying this post when I'm just trying to give you the background. I'm lame, sorry. I'm new to this accepting stuff thing, so I hope you don't hold it against us.

Anyhow, we accepted the offer and received the Filtrete inline water filter kit a few weeks later.

The kit is touted as a DIY friendly inline filter. You install the filter in your cold water supply line, then place the spout next to your sink. The end result is instant filtered water at the touch of a lever. We have family that has a similar system installed at their sink, and we use it frequently when we're over their house, so we knew we'd probably like the feature in our home.

Wendy and I set aside a day this past weekend to perform the install. The contents of the box were quite straight forward. They primarily consisted of the filter and filter assembly, necessary plumbing components for connection to the cold water line, and the supply spout that mounts above the counter near the sink.

About 90% of our installation went extremely smoothly and without issue. The remaining 10% that caused some delay was completely my own fault because I wanted to try to do things in a completely non standard way. You'd think I would have learned to follow directions by now, but nope.

Since we already had a non functioning sprayer on our sink, and we were looking to get rid of it once and for all, we were able to go ahead and unhook it from our faucet and remove it from the top of the sink. I jumped down below the sink and I'm sure I gave Wendy a good glimpse of plumber's crack, damn you low rise jeans not suited for plumbing!!!! (I don't know why I didn't change my clothes, but you can thank Wendy for not taking a photo of the crack that's whack.)

Once we had removed the sprayer, its location became the perfect spot for the water filter spout.

Had we not had this spout location we could have drilled a new 1-1/4" hole in our butcher block counters, but luckily this wasn't a necessity, as I'd prefer to not put additional holes in our counter.

Securing the spout in place was actually very easy. The hardware supplied includes a chrome escutcheon, rubber gasket, several washers, and a single nut to secure the device. These all need to go onto the faucet in a specific order, so I had to be sure I got it right before slipping it through the hole.

Once the faucet was in place, Wendy ensured I had it in the desired location...

...and I slid under the sink again to put the support washer in place and tighten the nut and washers.

I hand tightened the nut until I reached a reasonable amount of resistance, then used a wrench to tighten it just one half turn more. This will keep the whole assembly in place and pressure on the rubber washer without putting too much stress on the mechanism.

Under the sink I also got to work running the various plumbing items. The brace we had built for the cabinet back when we were leveling it for the butcher block install proved to be a perfect location to mount the filter holder and filter. All we needed to ensure was a 2-1/2" clearance below the filter so that we would be able to change it in the future.

I marked the screw locations by holding the filter mount in place, then drilled two pilot holes. Rather than using the supplied screw (which were too long for our application), I used 1" #10 wood screw. Using these screws gave me a secure place to mount the device without having the screws go through the back of the piece of wood.

Isn't the area below our sink absolutely beautiful? With the screws in place I inserted the white inlet and blue outlet tubes into the filter mount. The process was as simple as pushing the plastic tube into the opening which then bit down on the sides of the tube making a water tight seal.

With the tubes in place I simply slid the mount over the waiting screws.

Once everything was where I wanted it to be, I tightened the screws to secure the filter mount in its location. At this point I was able to unwrap the filter component and twisted it onto the installed filter mount. Piece of cake.

The final connection I needed to make was to the water supply, and this is where I took a wrong turn that was entirely my own fault. The instructions were simple, use the supplied black plastic tee and connect it to the cold water supply for the sink. Once connected, insert the white tube into the fitting and call the job complete. Did I do this? NO!

Instead I proceeded on a foolish wild goose chase. Since we had removed the sprayer faucet I figured "why not install this filter where the side sprayer connected to the sink? This would allow me to operate the filtered water faucet via the sink faucet, where I could even control the temperature of the filtered water. This was a bad move for many reasons. 

What I'm saying is "Don't be dumb like me, instead just follow the directions." It would have saved me quite a bit of time and headaches. 

First, I didn't have the parts I needed to make this work. I had to go out and buy a brass adapter for the faucet outlet that converted to a 1/4" compression fitting.

Second, once I connected everything up, I messed up the compression fitting and couldn't get an actual seal, so there was a minor leak. At this point in the project I turned into Nick Miller from "New Girl" and started swearing and yelling at the sink.

Third, the filter is only rated to filter water up to 100 degrees, so there's really only a chance that we would have forgotten, turned on the hot water, used the filter, and possibly ruined the whole thing. 

And fourth, once I had everything hooked up this way, it just didn't work as I expected. The filter doesn't allow enough flow so the water is still coming out of the main faucet at the same time. It would just be a waste of water over time. 

Rather than leave this non-standard, leaking, and partially functional install in place, I opted to simply cap off the old side spray supply and just go with the standard tee fitting.

Sorry for the bad photo, it's tight and dark under the sink!

One word of caution, this black plastic tee fitting is plastic, so if you're using this product, be very careful during install or risk crossing a thread and stripping the whole thing. If that happens, the only thing to do is head out to the store and pick up a new fitting that allows for a 1/4" compression outlet. Luckily, we didn't have this issue and were able to use the supplied fitting.

After actually following instructions we had ourselves a leak free and 100% functional filtered water supply right at our sink. After my non-standard install issues, the first glass of water felt like a little victory.

All in all, I'm very happy with the function of the inline water filter. The install was very straight forward (once I went ahead and followed directions), and the flow rate of the filtered water is much faster than I expected. The fact the filter lasts for six months before replacement seems great, but I'm very interested to see how the flow rate performs over the six months, and if a significant amount of use causes the throughput to decrease significantly or moderately.

When we do need to replace the filter, we won't even need to shut off the water. We'll just twist off the old filter and twist the new one on. We also wrote the install date on the filter itself so we're able to track when we last replaced it. The replacement filter looks like it's about $20 on various websites.

We do have a few minor comments on the kit. The critical tee piece for integrating this kit within the existing plumbing is a plastic component fitting, but I think I would have preferred if the fitting were brass. Beyond this, I also wish the components on the faucet were all metal (the black plastic handle and tip of the faucet may clash with decor), but this is purely an aesthetic preference. Overall, these are rather minor items.

Now that this is installed Wendy and I have started to talk about the possibility of adding something similar to one of the sinks that we'll install in our master bathroom. It'd be nice to have a quick and easy place to get filtered water for the night, especially if we've forgotten to bring a glass up for bed. They also sell a kit that doesn't include the upper faucet, this way we could buy a different nozzle that matches better with the decor of our bathroom.

Do you have a filter installed in your house? I know there are many different options, from whole house filters to filters that attach to the faucet spout. Does this look like something you might like? If you answered yes to that last question, be sure to check out our giveaway of one of these kits to a lucky commenter.

Though this wasn't a sponsored post, we were given the item we installed for free. We were under no obligation to say anything about the item, so the experience, opinions, and thoughts on the product are all our own. In other words, we liked it enough to share our experience with you. Thank you to Filtrete for inviting us to try out this product.

Comments 11

Comments

Phyllis
2/8/2013 at 2:02 PM
Enjoy the new water filter! You'll be amazed (if you aren't already)at how great the water tastes and your "kids" and plants will like it too!

My current home doesn't have one, unless you count the one that came with the fridge for it's in-door water dispenser. I will not get another fridge like that in the future for a load of reasons, but that's a whole other story.

My previous home had one and I really miss it! Initially, we had it hooked up just like yours (spout at sink) and had the filter in the basement (previous homeowners put it in that way). When we remodeled the kitchen, our handy dandy plumber got us hooked up and managed to tee off the existing system's connection so that we could have filtered water dispensing from the new fridge and the Insta-hot tap that he installed at the sink. Hot. Filtered. Water. Now that's the life!
Alex
2/8/2013
I hadn't thought of how this will make the plants feel, that's a great point! I know the kids like it, the definitely drink more the fresher the water is. We've been giving them filtered water but we always have to time it when we're filling the pitcher since it shouldn't be too cold. I think we'll probably always have a filter of some sort going forward.
2/8/2013 at 2:07 PM
Nice job! Looks like just the ticket, to get rid of the old filter pitchers. Our well water here is better drinking water if it has some sort of filtration, and we have a 3-stage reverse osmosis system mounted on the garage wall below our kitchen. It serves our kitchen sink (with a little faucet-thingy like yours) and also runs to the ice maker.
Alex
2/8/2013
I've always wondered how well water places tend to taste. It seems like it could vary pretty wildly based on area.
Jan
2/8/2013 at 2:19 PM
Adding this to the kitchen idea file ... our Brita pitcher is always cluttering up the counter (I use the filtered water in our electric teakettle, so we keep the water at room temp and add ice cubes if we want it cold). I replaced a nonfunctional side sprayer with a dish soap pump a few years ago. I like it, but if I had to choose, the water filter would probably win.
Alex
2/8/2013
Our old counter had a hole for the soap dispenser too, but it was clogged and broken so we were never able to use it. I do think you're right, the water dispenser should be the soap.
deb
2/8/2013 at 4:32 PM
We had several undersink filters similar to yours. The convenience was great. The problem we had was that the exterior case cracked and water flowed out for several hours, flooding my kitchen and ruining my wooden floors. I ultimately had the filter installed in the basement under the area of the sink and above the floor drain in the basement. Just check the case and you should be ok.
Alex
2/8/2013
This is an excellent point, and one we're keenly aware of. My parents house had the same thing happen, only in a whole house filter in the basement. They came home to 1 foot of water through the entire basement. I think we'll also be installing a water detection system with auto shut off in the event something like this occurs. Thanks for the input, it's very valuable.
JC
2/9/2013 at 12:13 PM
Hey guys. I wasn't sure if I should comment on this one or not, since I have a bit of a mixed review. We had a similar setup in my house growing up, and I loved it. It makes it very simple and easy to get quick (great tasting) water with much less chlorine in it than tap water (the city I live in tends to be pretty heavy on the chlorine). I'm currently using a Brita, but I'd much prefer a good system similar to yours.

My main negative comment: The tap is not very good quality. It's the SAME kind we had on our kit (which is from the 80s) and it didn't last too long before breaking. The black plastic lever handle is not very well designed, and the area that does all the heavy work is fairly weak (if it breaks the only way to get water is with a pair of needle nose pliers). I'm sure the tap will last a few years without problems, but if you guys find that you're getting a lot of daily use out of it, I'd strongly urge your guys to get a nicer one with a better design.

I'm also curious to see how long the filters on this will last. The kit we had at my old house was a much pricier one by Amway, and the tank for the filter on it was the size of a small garbage can (probably around 20" tall). The filter was also pretty big, and it lasted at least a year. The drawback, however, was that you had to drag-out the tank, unscrew the cover, change the filter, and reassemble it/put it back. Your system seems like it would be much quicker to swap filters. I don't think you'll notice a huge flow difference when the filter is nearing the end of its life, but you'll start to notice that the water isn't as fresh. It'll be similar to the Brita situation.
Alex
2/11/2013
You know, I was wondering about the durability of the plastic pieces. I can see they are under a good deal of pressure when you operate the lever. It's good to know that it could be prone to problems. Worst case scenario, if it breaks we should be able to find an all metal spout with a turn wheel and then just use the supplied hose with a compression fitting to connect the whole thing.

Also good to know how to tell when the filter needs to be replaced. We use our Brita filters WAY longer than we really should. I don't notice an issue with it until it hits me one day just how stale the water tastes, then I don't know how I didn't notice sooner. I tried "changing" the filter once this was all hooked up and it seems it will take about 15 seconds, maybe 30 if I have a hard time taking the plastic off of the canister, so that's definitely an improvement over the one you grew up with.

I also looked around on Amazon and it seems they have a decent selection of filter assemblies for roughly $30-$40. That might be the ticket for you. Then you could even get a faucet that is an older plumbing fixture and then plumb the filter into that. Might be sort of cool and functional at the same time.
JC
2/11/2013 at 1:04 AM
Yeah, like I said, the tap will work fine for now, but if you happen to come across a better quality one, definitely go for it. I remember passing-up a pretty nice one at Value Village several years ago "I probably won't ever need that" and I probably should have bought it.

I'm not quite sure what I want to do yet. For me the Brita is fine for now, and the kitchen remodel is not planned yet. I WANT to redo the kitchen badly, but there's a lot of other things I want to do first. A few years ago I had seen options for a "whole house filtration system" that I might like to look into. There are benefits to having chlorine-free showers (as just one example). But then you're also needlessly filtering your toilet water, too, unless you redo all your pipe work.
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